London, Nov 24 (EFE).- Amnesty International (AI) called this Friday for better protection of human rights defenders and health professionals who “face abuse and criminalization for defending the right to abortion.”
In its report ‘An unstoppable movement: Global call to recognize and protect those who defend the right to abortion’, the organization denounces that activists and people who provide essential services “are being subjected to stigmatization, intimidation, attacks and unfair prosecutions” in many countries.
This makes the performance of their work “increasingly difficult and dangerous,” says the London-based NGO, which has documented cases in places such as Venezuela, Poland and Ghana, when launching a global campaign.
This type of hostile environment, which exists even in countries where the right to abortion is partially recognized, has an “inhibiting, silencing and stigmatizing” effect among its defenders, since they live with “the constant fear of being attacked or prosecuted for providing that service, regardless of whether it is legal or not.
Amnesty warns that this environment also creates “significant obstacles for women, girls and all people who need these services, particularly the most marginalized.”
“The right to abortion is not a matter of opinion, but of international legal standards and norms. It is a right supported by a multitude of human rights, such as the right to physical and mental integrity, the right to health and the right to not be subjected to unlawful and arbitrary killing through the withdrawal of safe services,” AI Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a statement.
Callamard emphasizes that “those who defend and make possible the exercise of this right deserve our respect and protection” and regrets that “many States around the world insist on policies of excessive regulation and criminalization.”
The report, based on nearly 50 interviews with abortion rights advocates from around the world, compiles stories and information shared by organizations on the front lines, and reflects concerns raised by global health organizations, which in 2022 launched a call for increase protection.
Amnesty states that “the criminalization of abortion is the largest contributing factor to the estimated 35 million unsafe abortions performed each year.”
According to the organization, this means that health workers “are constantly caught between the moral and professional duty to provide the best possible care and the fact that they may be held criminally responsible if they do not comply with harmful laws.”
As part of its global campaign, AI calls on States to “fulfill their obligation to protect the right to a safe and legal abortion”, and to respect and protect “people who defend the right to abortion”.